The Hammer and the Anvil: Frederick Douglass, Abraham Lincoln, and the End of Slavery in America

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Overview

The period leading up to the Civil War was one of great change. Congress divided itself between Northerners and Southerners, citizens on the frontier took up arms against one another, and movements for secession and abolition were more urgent than ever.

In The Hammer and the Anvil, the award-winning author Dwight Jon Zimmerman and the renowned artist Wayne Vansant vividly depict the tumultuous time through the lives of two men who defined it: ...

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Overview

The period leading up to the Civil War was one of great change. Congress divided itself between Northerners and Southerners, citizens on the frontier took up arms against one another, and movements for secession and abolition were more urgent than ever.

In The Hammer and the Anvil, the award-winning author Dwight Jon Zimmerman and the renowned artist Wayne Vansant vividly depict the tumultuous time through the lives of two men who defined it: Frederick Douglass and Abraham Lincoln.

With a foreword by the Pulitzer Prize–winning historian James M. McPherson, The Hammer and the Anvil reveals that its protagonists each wrestled with the question of slavery from a young age. Douglass, a slave who was spared no brutality, once fought an especially cruel master and eventually escaped north to freedom. Lincoln, who was hired out by his father to do manual labor on neighbors’ farms, found this harsh life intolerable. As a senator, Lincoln sought ways to end the westward spread of slavery, believing that adding free states to the Union would diminish the power of the Southern states and lead to the gradual disappearance of the “peculiar institution.” Douglass was less patient. He had become a skilled orator and an influential editor of Northern abolitionist journals, and called on white Americans to honor their nation’s founding commitment to liberty.

When the Civil War erupted in April 1861, Douglass hoped that the conflict would mean the end of slavery. But Lincoln delayed emancipation, and Douglass despaired—until he met the president face-to-face and recognized that their causes were one and the same. Featuring evocative and dramatic scenes of this seminal time, The Hammer and the Anvil will engage both Civil War buffs and young people new to the study of American history.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
In this engaging and insightful graphic biography, Zimmerman reprises his partnership with Vansant from The Vietnam War: A Graphic History to present an account of two of the most important figures of 19th-century U.S. history: Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglass. For both men, the book begins at the beginning, showing the challenges that they faced as children, their efforts to overcome difficult circumstances, and the very real impact both men had on shaping the social and political consciousness of their times. It draws parallels between the humble circumstances of their early years, but it does so with subtlety, allowing the reader to recognize the connections for themselves. The unsentimental portraits look at the difficulties both men faced and what motivated them: racial equality for Douglass and the preservation of the Union for Lincoln, with the conviction that slavery would eventually come to an end. Vansant uses a simple but effective technique of moving between two different monochromatic color palettes when switching between the two, culminating in full-color illustrations when the men finally meet. Combined with Zimmerman’s narrative, it’s a compelling look at two of the most important figures in American history. (July)
From the Publisher
“Engaging and insightful . . . A compelling look at two of the most important figures in American history.” —Publishers Weekly

“An utterly ingenious graphic history of one of the most important stories in American history—the strikingly parallel lives of Frederick Douglass and Abraham Lincoln that eventually converged in friendship. Powerfully illustrated and written, The Hammer and the Anvil highlights for young readers, and anyone interested in graphic stories, the central debates of the Civil War era and of our own time: race, freedom, citizenship, state versus federal government, and the meaning of the American Dream.” —John Stauffer, author of Giants: The Parallel Lives of Frederick Douglass and Abraham Lincoln

“A highly original, historically accurate, and utterly irresistible take on the lives and contributions of those two giants, Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglass. This book raises the genre of ‘graphic history’ to a new level. Dwight Jon Zimmerman and Wayne Vansant have produced a page-turner that will engage young readers, and no doubt delight their parents, too.”

Harold Holzer, Chairman, Lincoln Bicentennial Foundation

“An ingenious telling of the most important story in our nation’s history through the lives of the two greatest Americans of the nineteenth century, Frederick Douglass and Abraham Lincoln. Students, teachers, and general readers—even those who think history is not for them—will find this an exciting, compelling read. A brilliant work!”

James G. Basker, President of the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History

The Hammer and the Anvil makes the extraordinary moment that brought Frederick Douglass and Abraham Lincoln together accessible to young students. It’s an eye-opener.”

Ira Berlin, author of The Making of African America

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780809053582
  • Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux
  • Publication date: 7/17/2012
  • Pages: 160
  • Sales rank: 806,037
  • Product dimensions: 14.30 (w) x 9.10 (h) x 0.80 (d)

Meet the Author

Dwight Jon Zimmerman is the coauthor with Bill O’Reilly of The New York Times bestseller Lincoln’s Last Days. He is the author of The Vietnam War: A Graphic History and the co-executive producer of the Discovery Channel’s miniseries First Command. He lives in Brooklyn, New York.

Wayne Vansant is the illustrator of The ’Nam and The Vietnam War: A Graphic History, among many other works. He lives in Mableton, Georgia.

James M. McPherson is the George Henry Davis 1886 Professor of History, Emeritus, at Princeton University. He is the author of numerous award-winning books on the Civil War, including Battle Cry of Freedom, which won the Pulitzer Prize.

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Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Posted August 27, 2012

    Dwight Zimmerman and Wayne Vansant have teamed up to produce a m

    Dwight Zimmerman and Wayne Vansant have teamed up to produce a masterful
    study of the two arguably most important players in political fight to
    eliminate slavery in America. Aimed toward the young adult audience, it
    captures the essence of the two men, Abraham Lincoln and Frederick
    Douglass, from their lowly births all the way to the White House and Mr.
    Douglass' position as US Counsel General to Haiti. The scholarship and
    research invested in this book are clearly evident. The book provides
    the reader with a much greater appreciation for both historical figure
    as men. It clearly chronicles each's strengths and weaknesses and their
    innate grasp of politics. It also shows the process by which a
    determined man can help change the minds and attitudes of hundreds of
    thousands of others. I truly think young people will greatly benefit
    from reading this book. Vansant's illustration brings the characters to
    life and should help keep their interest in the story all the way to the end.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted October 12, 2014

    My highest recommendation for this "graphic novel" dou

    My highest recommendation for this "graphic novel" double-biography. Writer and artist use color in a very effective way (which I won't describe here; let it surprise you). Here are the stories of two actual American heroes, who have helped define what America is all about. Great moral inspiration for teen readers, and adults of any age.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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